City Council votes to refine 8th ward plan

Burlington’s City Council voted to refer a new redistricting plan that would add an eighth voting ward for refinement at its meeting on Monday.

The plan, referred to as “4-8-12” for its inclusion of four precincts, an additional eighth district and 12 councilors was passed by an 8-6 majority, bringing a possible end in sight to a redistricting process that has taken years to resolve. 

The plan was proposed by councilors Tom Ayers and Paul Decelles of Ward 7, David Hartnett and Bryan Aubin of Ward 4, Jane Knodell and Max Tracy of Ward 2, and Vince Brennan of Ward 3. 

The city has been attempting to redraw its lines in an effort to provide for equal representation since the census was taken in 2010, the Cynic reported, revealing that Wards 4 and 7 were overrepresented amid population growth, whereas Ward 1- which houses the University-was not represented enough. 

Although several of the councilors referred to the proposal as the best of the worst, some said they were still optimistic about the plan. 

“It does say something that democrats, republicans and progressives all support this,” Decelles said. 

University senior Charlie Kelley has been campaigning for an additional eighth ward that would give more representation to college students, the Cynic reported earlier this month. 

While he has pushed an 8 ward, 16 councilor plan, at the very least he said he would spend the coming weeks and months “mobilizing students to get involved in any way possible.”

The new plan will be voted on at the Nov. 18 meeting.